City Life – Stray Dogs, Cyber City Corporate Complex
The cyber protectors.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The business towers are buzzing with busy folks. Nattily dressed office-goers are boldly entering the glass doors of these gleaming high-rises. The computer-coded ID cards around their necks are proudly asserting their right to access these shrines of what is often lauded as the changing India.
This is just another day in the corporate world of Gurgaon’s Cyber City. The very air feels so commanding and professional that an idle outsider might fear getting summons by suspicious guards.
That feeling disappears as soon as you come across this most reassuring sight — a dog snoozing outside one of the grand lobbies. Unlike the smartly dressed people here, he looks ordinary. In fact, he looks like any street dog you might spot in the grubby lanes of the National Capital Region.
“He was homeless but now his home is Cyber City,” says a gardener, too shy to give his name. He calls these strays “buildings ke rakhwale (protectors)”.
Soon enough, more of these canines are spotted in the area. It’s very hot this afternoon and most dogs have retired to the discrete shades and shadows of this sprawling complex.
A few are slumped close to the glass entrances of these buildings to enjoy the cold gusts of AC air that rushes out to them each time the doors are flapped open.
Not far away, housekeeper Pratap Mandal, mopping the tiled floor, carefully makes his way around a dog so as not to disturb its slumber. “We have about 20 of them here,” he says, explaining that they are looked after “by everyone” and that people working in the offices feed them regularly with “biscuits, milk and even chicken”. The gardeners make sure that the water bowls placed in various nooks and corners for these dogs are continually replenished.
Nobody here is ever rude to these well-behaved strays, Mr Mandal reports. Each dog, he says, tends to have more than one name. “See that kutta,” he gestures, pointing to a dog sitting by a column, “one madam calls him Doggie and another calls him Bullet.” Some hours later, the evening shall set in and the office towers will start emptying of their humans. But these quiet dogs will stay on. Their presence adds homely intimacy to the corporate district, making it more humane.
The humane touch